On the Road
What’s not to love about golf in Nova Scotia?
Golf in Nova Scotia is synonymous with great hospitality.
Christine Dengel, Golf Canada’s Regional Director of Membership for Ontario & Atlantic Canada
Published on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 11:19AM EDT Last updated on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 11:57AM EDT
I recently travelled to Nova Scotia to make some club visits. As the season was winding down the fall foliage was in full swing and the colours were spectacular. My host Dave Campbell, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Golf Association, set up a wonderful tour of clubs in the southern half of Nova Scotia and then back into the metro Halifax area. On most of the days clubs were still fairly busy as the weather was generally warm for fall and golfers were trying to enjoy their last few rounds before clubs begin to close for the winter season. On October 18th we saw the first frost delay in the Annapolis Valley.
I learned that Nova Scotia golfers are very passionate about the game. Most clubs reported a high volume of rounds played this year. The 2012 season was about to be remembered as spectacular until the rains came in September and put a huge damper on an important month of revenue for clubs. Despite the challenges of some drought conditions during the summer season and then copious amounts of rain in early fall the courses all looked to be in fine condition.
The trip around the southern loop of the province revealed many fine golf courses which I would highly recommend to golfers travelling to Nova Scotia on vacation. The southern half of the province also boasts a warmer climate than the other half of the province including Cape Breton. This is definitely something to consider if travelling during the shoulder seasons of early spring and fall. The layouts are generally built on rolling to hilly terrain with spectacular tree lined fairways in most cases, and as I early mentioned the fall colours, featuring lots of red and orange tints were outstanding. To add to the beauty some of the clubs along the coast lines offer amazing seaside vistas and all of this at reasonable green fee prices. After golf there is plenty of fresh lobster, scallops and other seafood to accompany a cold beverage. What’s not to love about golf in southern Nova Scotia?
The golf clubs we visited are all trying to engage players by running junior programs, many with the assistance of club volunteers. Volunteers are an important part of the Nova Scotia golf landscape and I thank all of you for making golf a better game for us with your assistance. We hope to expand our reach to more juniors by getting more schools engaged in our national Golf in Schools program presented by Callaway in 2013.
On our last day of visits we stopped by the Milk Energy Sports Fair in Halifax. 3500 school students were in attendance and there was a large variety of sports for the children to actively try including golf. I had the pleasure of assisting many children as they took their first golf swings in the NSGA hitting area over the course of an hour. We used the equipment in the Golf in Schools presented by Callaway Golf kit for elementary schools, and it was a pleasure to meet so many great children and expose them to golf for a few minutes. We saw some great raw talent in these children. I hope they will try golf again.
Congratulations go out to Hartlen Point and Oakfield Golf Clubs who both celebrated their 50th anniversaries in 2012.
I would like to thank all the clubs who took time out to see us during my visit. All clubs were most welcoming and our visits were most informative. It is great to learn about the golf business in all provinces. As much as we think they differ, they truly are much the same. We all have similar struggles as our players continue to age.
In rural areas clubs are really struggling to reduce the average age of their members as young members of their communities must move to larger cities to seek employment. We have to be creative, think outside the box, and continue to reinvent our golf products to meet the needs of our members and guest players. Presenting a small concert or providing entertainment as part of Friday night mixed leagues help to make a full evening for players and guests and is just one of the made ideas clubs are toiling with. We also saw some positive results from clubs who ran membership drives aimed at improving club age demographics.
As golf comes to a close for this season in Nova Scotia I wish all the golfers a healthy and safe winter season and I will look forward to my next visit. Thanks again for all the hospitality.
Christine Dengel is a PGA of Canada golf professional with more than 30 years of experience in multiple facets of the golf industry, and a lifelong passion for and commitment to the game of golf. Prior to joining Golf Canada, she was a Territory Sales Manager for Callaway Golf Canada for 18 years. During her time with Callaway, Dengel managed the GTA and Southwestern Ontario territory from 1992-2005 and has managed the Southern Ontario territory since 2006.